"SALEM's team of professional archaeologists assist our clients to navigate the local, state, and federal regulations that pertain to archaeological/cultural resources management. Our team is experienced in every phase the process, from the initial site survey, identification of resources and sites, through monitoring and mitigation.  We work directly with our clients, regulatory agencies and interested parties to ensure the successful completion of the project goals.”


SALEM utilizes strategically aligned Registered Professional Archaeologists to conduct Archaeological/Cultural Resource Assessments of proposed sites for development. Many regulatory agencies at the city and county level require an archaeological/cultural resource assessment be conducted as part of their initial site development submittal to evaluate the potential for damage to historical and/or archaeological features or material prior to commencement of construction activities including grading and trenching. Should an archaeological/cultural resource assessment determine the site may have potential items of archaeological/cultural significance, monitoring is typically recommended.

SALEM’s past archaeological/cultural resources projects have ranged from initial literature reviews to Phase I cultural resources assessment to construction monitoring and assessment.  Additionally, SALEM has been involved with projects requiring historic building National Register eligibility assessments and recordation.


Literature Review

A Literature Search can be provided to clients who are looking for a comprehensive review of historical and archaeological databases for recorded historical/archaeological resources located within a project site or its vicinity.  A Literature Search will include a summary of previous reported findings.

Phase I Archaeological/Cultural Resources Survey

A Phase I Archaeological Survey (also commonly referred to as a Cultural Resources Assessment or Survey) is an initial assessment designed to provide the regulatory agency overseeing the project site with enough basic information necessary to identify the existence of any prehistoric or historic archaeological resources within the project site. The initial Phase I Archaeological/Cultural Resources Survey scope includes a review of Government Land Office (GLO) records, historic maps, and historic register lists, as appropriate; a Sacred Lands Search Request; as well as a site reconnaissance survey of the project site area. A report will be prepared and submitted to the client outlining the project description, context, methodology, results, and recommendations together with copies of relevant maps and photographs in accordance with regulatory agency requirements. 

Construction Monitoring

Depending on the findings of the initial archaeological/cultural resource assessment, an archaeological monitoring plan on a site development project can allow a construction project to proceed unimpeded while preserving the historical and/or archaeological resource. Construction Monitoring requires that an archaeologist be present during site development activities that could potentially impact or damage undiscovered historical and/or archaeological features or material. The archaeologist’s role is to identify and protect any artifacts or features that may be revealed or otherwise affected by the development activities. In the event that historical and/or archaeological features or material are encountered, the on-site archaeologist will directly engage the local regulatory agency on behalf of the client while a mitigation plan is prepared and implemented. 

California Register of Historical Resources

Historical resources are recognized as part of the environmental under CEQA; the California Register is the authoritative agency to the state’s historical resources and which properties are considered significant under CEQA. Generally, a cultural resource shall be considered “historical significant” if the resource meets criteria for listing on the California Register of Historic Resources including the following: 

  1. Is associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of California's history and cultural heritage;
  2. Is associated with the lives of persons important in our past;
  3. Embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, region, or method of construction, or represents the work of an important creative individual, or possesses high artistic values; or
  4. Has yielded, or may be likely to yield, information important in prehistory or history.

Depending on the findings of the initial Cultural Resources Survey, along with the aforementioned criteria for being considered “historically significant,” an application along with supplemental forms must be submitted and reviewed by the Office of Historic Preservation.

Paleontology Resources Survey & Analysis

A Paleontological Resource Assessment is conducted to evaluate potential paleontological resources at a site proposed for development and the surrounding area to determine if the proposed development poses any significant adverse impact to paleontological resources. If a potential impact to paleontological resources is discovered, then the survey will outline appropriate monitoring/mitigation measures in order to minimize adverse impacts to the paleontological resource. SALEM’s vast network of strategically aligned partners including certified paleontologists and geologists will document existing site conditions, conduct record searches, review available geologic and paleontological literature pertinent to the subject property, and review available environmental impact and/or geotechnical reports pertinent to the development of the subject property.

Related Services